Starlink Roam (formerly Starlink RV) and Starlink Residential are two of the several plans offered by the satellite internet company. The names are pretty self explanatory – Roam is designed for recreational travelers, while Residential is for home internet. But the two service plans offer different performance, features, and costs.
In this comparison guide, I will break down the differences between Starlink Roam and Residential. I will cover the hardware, costs, performance, and features. I will also detail the important ordering and billing differences. Finally, I’ll recommend which service you should get based on your needs.
Table of Contents
The hardware is identical between Roam and Residential. You get the same antenna, router, base, and cable.
Starlink doesn’t offer any Roam accessories at this time (except the travel case). I know many RV owners will be looking for a DC power supply or RV specific mounts, but Starlink doesn’t make any of that. You’ll have to look to aftermarket vendors if you need accessories for your rig.
When you order Starlink, you’ll pay a one-time equipment fee and then a monthly service charge. Here is the cost breakdown between Roam and Residential:
The equipment cost is $599 for both Roam and Residential. This buys you the hardware kit, including the antenna, router, and stand.
Residential: $120 per month
Roam: $150 per month for Regional Roam, $200 per month for Global Roam
Since the hardware is identical, the performance capability of Roam and Residential is the same. However, Residential users always have bandwidth priority over Roam users. This means that, in times of heavy network traffic in an area, Roam performance will be worse than Residential users in the area. Speeds will be more inconsistent, and latency could be higher.
Here are the official performance specs:
Residential: 20-100 mbps down, 5-15 mbps up, 25-50 ms latency
Roam: 5-50 mbps down, 2-10 mbps up, 25-50 ms latency
Neither plan has a hard data limit, although Residential users have access to 1TB of Priority Access data each month. Priority Access means higher speeds. Roam users, and Residential users who go over 1TB of data, are on Basic Data. Basic Data will be slower in times of network congestion.
Starlink Roam is great for being able to travel with your Starlink dish, but there are some other benefits over Residential as well:
The main feature that Roam has, compared to Residential, is the ability to pause your service. If you only plan to use Starlink during the camping season, you’ll be able to pause your subscription during the winter, and save money when you aren’t actually using it.
With Residential, you can’t pause service, you can only cancel. And since capacity and availability with Residential is limited, cancelling could put you back on the waitlist, unable to start service back up immediately.
Residential users are locked at their service address. Roam users can use their Starlink virtually anywhere. Starlink offers Regional Roam and Global Roam. With the Regional plan, users can travel within their own continent.
By upgrading to Global Roam, users can use Starlink anywhere around the world. The flexibility of being able to move around without worrying about the waitlist is a major advantage of Roam over Residential.
There are several differences between Roam and Residential when it comes to ordering, traveling, and availability:
Residential Starlink service is limited at the moment. There is a certain capacity in each area, which slowly expands as more and more satellites are launched. If you try to order Starlink Residential, you may be stuck on the waitlist, waiting to be able to order your hardware kit.
Starlink Roam doesn’t have a waitlist. In most areas, you can order it immediately without waiting. Since Roam doesn’t technically have a service address, you can choose to ship it just about anywhere.
There are some restrictions with Roam, such as needing to stay within the same continent as your shipping address. You can upgrade to Global Roam to travel outside the continent.
With either Roam plan, if you move outside of the shipping address country for more than 2 months, you’ll be required to re-register in that country.
Which Starlink should I order?
The best Starlink service for you depends on what you plan to do with it. Are you stuck on the waitlist, desperate for internet? Perhaps you have a main house and a vacation home that you plan to take your Starlink to?
Read each section below. The points highlight the differences between Roam and Residential. You’ll know which option is best for you if you agree with the majority of the points listed in that section.
Get Starlink Residential if:
- you primarily need home internet service
- you never need to travel with Starlink
- you want the highest level of performance at home
- you will use Starlink year-round
Get Starlink Roam if:
- you primarily need recreational/portable/travel internet service
- you can’t wait on the Residential waitlist
- you want the ability to pause monthly service payments
- you don’t mind performance inconsistency
Starlink Roam is primarily aimed at travelers who need a portable high speed internet option. Starlink Residential is aimed at customers needing home internet. The hardware is identical, but there are some major differences with features, performance, and availability.
Order Roam if you just need portable internet to use at multiple locations. With Roam, you’ll be able to pause service when you aren’t using it. Order Residential if you primarily need home internet and it’s available at your address.
I hope this guide has helped you understand the difference between the Starlink plans. If you have any further questions, leave a comment below or contact me.
Did you know you can convert Roam to Residential to skip the waitlist?